Indict the System

Damayan Migrant Workers Association Statement

December 4, 2014

Damayan stands in unwavering solidarity with the families of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, and the inspiring people of Ferguson, MO, who have risen up in militant rebellion and have been in the streets since August. We join the thousands who, in fury at how little Black lives are worth in this society, have shut down highways, bridges and cities over the past week to indict the racist system, and we call upon our community and our supporters to join us as we demand an end to the genocide of our Black brothers and sisters.

We are deeply outraged that the grand jury in Ferguson, MO, returned a decision to not indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who murdered unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown. We are outraged still that the grand jury here in New York returned a decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo, the white police officer who killed unarmed Black man Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold. We view these murders and non-indictments as brutal reminders of the entrenched, institutionalized racism upon which US society and economy is built – the new Jim Crow, lynching by another name. The mass murder, mass incarceration and mass poverty of Black people in the US upholds the dictatorship of the white wealthy elite – with the justification that Black people are inherently violent, a threat, or as Darren Wilson called Mike Brown, “demons”.

This is the same ruling elite whose wealth is built on the backs of immigrants in this country and workers in the neo-colonies and the Third World. Immigrant communities must refuse to be placated by the half-measures of Obama’s Executive Action to see that racism and violence against immigrant communities is predicated on racism and violence against the Black community.

As a colonized people, Filipinos have been the target of imperialist state-sponsored violence unleashed by the US military and imposed upon our ancestors to suppress our people’s rebellion and to assume control of our economy, society and politics. As migrants, we have been the target of state-sponsored violence unleashed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and deport our family members and those of our brothers and sisters from border communities. As domestic workers, we have been the target of exploitation and modern-day slavery, the legacy of the forced extraction of Africans from their homelands to be enslaved on US plantations and in homes. Immigrant communities must not and will not be divided from Black communities, because the liberation of our people ultimately relies on the liberation of all oppressed and exploited peoples.

We draw upon our history of Black-Filipino solidarity during the Philippine-American war in the late 1800s to early 1900s. At that time, Black soldiers who were former slaves turned against the US occupiers who sent them to fight the Filipino revolutionaries. They defected and joined the ranks of the Filipino revolutionaries. Now, Filipinos, too, must defect – against any tendency we have to remain silent and comfortable simply because it is not Filipinos but Black folks getting murdered by police and armed vigilantes in the streets. Just as the Black soldiers joined the Philippine revolution, so must Filipinos join the ranks of this movement that centers the Black struggle and upholds Black leadership.

These grand jury decisions made clear that justice is not primarily won in the courts or through legal avenues. Justice must be won through organized resistance, solidarity and mass movement. We have no other choice but to resist. Damayan opposes inflated characterizations of the Ferguson rebellion as violent riots and looting, and will not accept, in any form, the de-legitimizing of people’s righteous anger. We echo the call that Ferguson is New York, and Ferguson is everywhere, and view this as a defining moment of collective grief and action.

Justice for Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and all lives taken by killer cops!

Black Lives Matter!

No Justice, No Peace!

Jail Killer Cops!

Indict the racist system!

Down with US Imperialism!